Because You Have Autism

It has taken me several weeks to process my emotions and attempt to compose this blog posting.

While I typically have the answers to Mike’s question, this one left me speechless – unable to respond. In my mind, all I could conjure was because you have autism. Knowing that Mike would not be able to process the cruel realities of that response, I simply tried to redirect his attention elsewhere. While I successfully redirected Mike, the incident has been haunting me.

Last month, we celebrated Mike’s birthday with a dinner party at Outback Steakhouse. A few of Mike’s teachers and classmates joined us in the celebration. If you follow my blog, you have heard me mention Mike’s special friend, Lisa.

Lisa and Mike were classmates for four years and developed a true friendship. I have taken Lisa and Mike to Disney World, movies, school dances, dinners, and all of the school functions offered. They ate lunch together in the lunchroom and on occasion would even hold hands. In the most innocent way possible, Lisa is Mike’s girlfriend.

Mike and Lisa had not seen each other for several months prior to his birthday dinner and they were thrilled to be together. They sat at the end of our long table watching YouTube videos on Mike’s iPad, both smiling – happy to be together.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Mike grabbed my arm and said, “Lisa goes to the doctor to get a baby.” The comment jolted and confused me. I had no idea what he was referencing. In my mind, I started sorting through the catalogue of movie and YouTube scripts. I was stumped and a little concerned that other people heard his comment. I tried to shush him and redirect the conversation to his birthday, but he was determined to make me understand. He repeated the statement again and held up his iPad for me to see.

On Mike’s iPad was a cartoon picture of a family. The mom was in a hospital bed holding their new baby and the dad was sitting next to her. I immediately understood what he was saying and it was as if I knife had been plunged through my heart.

Mike understands the seasons of life. He wants what everyone wants – a family of his own.

That night as I walked our dogs, the tears started to flow. How do I tell my son that he cannot have what everyone else has? How do I explain that his life is ‘different’ and NOT equal? How much does he really understand? How much pain and longing will he experience throughout his lifetime?

Today, as I sit here writing, tears streaming down my face, I still do not have the answers. The only one I can come up with – because you have autism.

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17 thoughts on “Because You Have Autism

  1. My 11 year old daughter talks all the time about the children she’s going to have when she grows up. I haven’t said, “No,” I just play along – but the older she gets the closer “the talk” will be, and I dread it. SO painful…

  2. autismsmart says:

    My husband’s parents are Autistic..they met in a group home….My husband is NT ..our daughter has Autism..of course he wants that!!!!

  3. charlotte says:

    Although mine is only four and I have yet to know how far he will progress by then, this is one of my biggest fears. Love to you and Mike

  4. I had a similar breakdown and grieving time when I had to explain to my teenager with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that he was never going to get a driver’s license. Mike will be happy. He WILL suffer pain and longing (don’t we all!), but he will also thoroughly enjoy the things he loves. If he’s like my kids with autism, he’ll enjoy them over and over and over again! 🙂

    • I have a daughter with FAS. We’ve had her for ten years this month and she’ll be eleven in January. She talks about having kids all the time but her IQ is in the seventies. My heart breaks for her. My son with autism is 13 and he often says, “When I have kids…” and I freeze up. Some day I will have to explain to them but I have no idea what I will say. I blog about my two. I don’t have many contacts that “get” FAS like I do those who understand autism. I’m at Quirks and Chaos on Facebook if you want to come check out my page. I’d love to have a few hanging out that know FAS like I do. Lisa Smith

  5. Sara Fleming says:

    I felt my heart break when my then 15 year old son told his teachers that he had accepted that he’d never have have a family or get married, that he’d be alone forever, I understand your tears xxx

  6. This breaks my heart! My nephew has Autism and although I love him to death and I wouldn’t change a thing about him, my heart hurts so often over the things he won’t have or get to experience.

  7. pattiann says:

    It is sad an i feel your pain . my vinnie is 21 and he is wanting to drive. That is the hard one for me. With a 17 year old and 22 year old driving he doesnt understand why he cant drive and probably would be a better driver than us all together but those little things are what hurt me most. He wants to do everything..

  8. mw says:

    Just last night, my youngest and I chugged down this very path. He has on older brother (also on the spectrum) so I have a little advanced practice. And here is what I shared with him. “Well J., having children and when you have them is complicated. There isn’t just one answer. Some people never have children. You do know that right? People can choose to have children or not. Some people are married when they have children and some are unmarried. Some people have children and some people adopt children. Some people have children at a very young age, some have them in their 20s, 30s, 40s or even 50s. But some people don’t ever have children.And all of it is ok. Not everyone has to have kids.”
    Then we had a conversation about some of the people we know that don’t have any kids to his Aunt who has 7 of them. I asked if he thought he was supposed to have kids. And lo and behold the answer was – yes.
    I think that with any kiddo, you just keep talking/communicating. And for sure there are and will be things that run through our minds that break our heart. But when we talk to them, it might not be breaking theirs…they might just be thinking that it is the next step in what they are supposed to do. (At least, that’s what I am hoping.)

  9. Autism Mom says:

    I read this last night and thought about it all night long. I am so sorry for you pain. Thank you for sharing your grief with us. I will keep thinking about you and Mike.

  10. Stefanie says:

    I have autism an understand mike I want it to Pepe forget that we have all the same wants an needs as everyone else even if we can’t express them or may not be able to .it bugs me more that some of my friends I went to school with have kids sn got married they are mild then me my parents say I be a great mom but you need so much help .but it good that mike understands an has those wants .it shows you he dose understand more then u think .the hardest thing about having a disabily is other thinking we are a child in everything or that we don’t or shouldn’t have those feelings .but we do .i know how he feels .i wish I could have a baby to I would never be bad to it like I see some monster parents on the news .maybe mike can have a puppy .i have a dog an it like haveing a kid everyone says I’m a great doggy mom .these are the things that stink about having a disbily sometimes

  11. I am so happy you are my *online* friend. You always give me such wonderful insight and tools. In many ways, by sharing your thoughts, you are helping parents become better parents. Thank you, AH

  12. Leeann says:

    Through the ups and downs, the doctor and therapy visits, the meltdowns and fights with the school district, I have never hated autism more than I do at this minute. No.words. :..(

  13. Kim says:

    Yes it is “because you have autism” but it’s so much more. I would cheerfully assist my son (and future DIL) in raising a child if that situation ever came about. But I would have to spend time explaining to him that he risks having a child that will have the same difficulties with the world that he has. And that he would need to seriously consider that issue. That same debate occurs for anyone with a possible genetic/genetic disability.

    If possible I would work on redirecting that desire into being a fun and good uncle, or helping others with their kids, until he is capable of understanding the importance of that decision.

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